Hyderabad: The plight of Benjamin Marthand, a well-respected pianist and musician in the city is getting progressively worse. Marthand, now 91 years of age, finds himself in a helpless situation as he is allegedly confined to an old-age home against his will.
The managing trustee of Sankalp woman’s support alliance, Sheila Sarah Mathews speaking to Siasat.com alleged that Marthand is being administered drugs to dull his mind and that he is not allowed to speak to anybody. “He has repeatedly requested us to take him away but his nephews are forcefully retaining him there,” she added.
While the Sunshine old age home alleges that Marthand is not well enough to leave, activists allege otherwise. Taking cognizance of the situation, Mathews and a friend of Marthand’s complained to the circle inspector at Jawaharnagar police station.
The suspicion is that the coordinator of the Sunshine old age home in Yapral (Where Marthand is detained) has been ganging up with the victim’s nephews to ensure that he remains incommunicado just so that they can get their hands on Marthand’s property.
When Mohammad Shakir Ahmed, a friend of Marthand knew of the unfair detainment, he rushed to the elderly man’s aid. “While I was speaking to him, he seemed okay. However, he quietly scribbled “Please help me” on a piece of paper and passed it on to me,”
“For a man in his nineties, he is quite healthy,” adds Mathews. “They have been giving him anti-anxiety and depression medicines to dull his mind. In fact, there is no proper prescription for the drugs he is being given.”
The concern expressed by both Shakir and Sarah is that Benjamin Marthand’s nephews and the woman who runs Sunshine old age home, Shiny Shah, are violating his rights by forcefully confining him.
The letters Marthand is alleged to have written to Shakir are disconcerting. He uses phrases like “Kindly rescue” and calls his forceful confinement a plan hatched by “the land mafia”. He also states in his letters (the copies of which are with Siasat.com) that he is held prisoner by his sister’s son Pradeep James and being given stale food to eat.
A copy of the letters is displayed below:
Shiny Shah, the woman running Sunshine old age home has, however, rejected all the above claims. She stated in a telephonic conversation with this reporter that everything was fine until Shakir intervened in the situation. “Marthand was living comfortably until August and Shakir’s intervention has made things worse and hence we had to file a complaint against him in the police station,”
She further alleged that Marthand’s senile and in a state of paranoia starts to make statements that are contradictory and unclear.
However, as Shakir observed, Marthand has been consistent about wanting to leave the old age home and as the situation stands, Marthand is unable to meet people outside his family and is anxious about his stay at Sunshine oldage home.
Despite repeated attempts, Siasat.com was unable to speak to the police officials at Jawhar nagar police station.